Palworld is caught up in the controversy of plagiarism and use of AI


Sales of the game “Pokémon holding a gun” is growing rapidly. Despite its growing popularity, the game is facing challenges accusations of plagiarism. On the morning of January 21, the official X account of Palworld shared that the new game has sold three million copies in 40 hours since its release, an impressive number because this game is free on Game Pass. This figure proves that giving Pokémon guns is an idea that appeals to many people. Palworld is also gaining popularity on Steam, as it is currently the sixth most played game on Valve’s platform by number of online players, beating out AAA games like Elden Ring and Baldur’s Gate 3.

However, the above success came with some controversy when the game was involved in accusations of plagiarism. With just a glance, any gamer can realize that Palworld is borrowing ideas from Pokémon. Aside from the gameplay of capturing Pals by throwing balls at them, Palworld is more like a survival game than a role-playing game like Pokémon, but many people have pointed out that some of the Pal designs are too similar to Pokémon.


A netizen has compare Palworld creature design to Pokémon, where some of the designs are surprisingly similar, from the details to even the choice of color palette. No one can prove whether the developer Pocketpair whether or not it directly copied Pokémon’s design, although many people have noticed the similarities. Another game by Pocketpair, Craftopia also inspired by Nintendo’s Breath of the Wild and the upcoming title Never Grave by the developer, at first glance, it looks like an animeized version of Hollow Knight.

Things are made more complicated in some people’s eyes by Pocketpair’s relationship with generative AI tools. In many post on social network X, Pocketpair CEO Takuro Mizobe praised the potential of AI image generators in content creation. And recently, this CEO even claimed that Palworld’s 100 character concept art were mostly done by a new graduate. Mr. Mizobe wrote: “She is a recent graduate and has applied to nearly 100 companies but failed. She is currently drawing most of the characters in Palworld.”


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